This gentleman declares his fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ and his burning desire to live faithfully according to his Word: not just as an individual but also as a member of the church of Jesus Christ and particularly as an ordained leader within it. He is being persecuted for preaching the gospel, He is being persecuted for faithfully gathering the people of God for worship (even if it is illegal in China), He is being persecuted for the sake of righteous and godly living.
Some of you may have heard of Pastor Wang Yi from Early Rain Covenant Church in China. On December 30, 2019, Pastor Wang Yi was sentenced to 9 years in prison, deprived of his political rights for 3 years, and 50,000 RMB of his personal property were seized. The charges were ‘inciting to subvert state power’ and ‘illegal business operations’. Neither charge was directly related to the preaching of the gospel. Was it for preaching the gospel? Maybe he is not being persecuted for preaching the gospel.
So what was the background to these charges? As a result of his leadership of the Early Rain Covenant Church in China, he was arrested as part of a sting from the Chinese government on “unauthorized” religious groups that were meeting. Of course, his church was among a number of churches that met independently of the Chinese “state” church. Protestants are only allowed to worship in churches regulated and overseen by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. You can find more information here. Could he have not just joined the state church? Maybe he is not being persecuted for his faith.
On December 12, 2018, Wang Yi wrote a declaration of faithful disobedience. You can find Pastor Yi’s declaration here. In here he speaks about the evils of the Communist regime. He speaks about a lot more than that, and there is a context to his comments. But there is a decidedly political aspect to his message. He is calling civil authorities to repentance. According to Canadian standards this is dangerous ground to be on. Should he not just “preach the gospel”? Maybe he is not being persecuted for his faith.
He could have kept the number of worshippers under 100 and escaped notice. He could have not run a seminary for all of China.